Friday, January 9, 2009

New Sermon series: Part 1

Knowing Christ is a Personal Experience

10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Phip.3:10-11, NKJV)

A. Paul says, "I want to know Christ..." (Phil.3:10)
  • Paul once put confidence in the flesh, personal achievements, and self-righteous legalism (Phil. 3:4-6).
  • In his former life, before He came to know Christ (Acts 9:1-7), he had religion, position, influence and power in society.
  • He came from the right family and the right tribe. He had all the right stuff that makes a man great in the eyes of the world; even in religious circles.
  • Yet he put all of this aside, counting it worthless, for the sake of knowing Jesus Christ personally as Lord and friend(Phil.3:7-9)
  • Paul goes on to encourage and exhort the Philippiam Christians to do the same; that is, to seek a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to grow in Him, instead of striving to please God in the flesh.

Know" in this context comes from the greek word (ginosko) which is the same term used in other New Testament passages to convey the idea of the connection or union between a husband and wife. This implies:

  • Intimate relationship vs. intellectual knowledge; not just a head knowledge, but a personal, intimate relationship that continues to grows deeper as each day passes.
  • To know Christ personally is to know God. Jesus clearly made this connection

If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” (John 14:7);

"...He who has seen Me has seen the Father..." (John 14:9)

  • Paul is saying in Philippians 3:10, "I want to know Him as my closest, most personal friend" (John 15:15)
  • Friends spend time together, listen to one another, and are honest with one another; even when it hurts. Friends trust one another and often know each other better than they know themselves
  • How can I tell others about someone I don't know personally in my own life? I can tell others about George Washington or Elvis Presley, yet I never knew either of them personally.
  • We can know Jesus Christ personally and intimately, although none of us have ever seen Him in the flesh.
  • As we share Christ with others, will they respond more to a mere head knowledge or formal religion, or to a personal experience with a personal friend?

There is a song entitled "Name" from several years back, written and recorded by Christian band PFR. The chorus of the song goes like this

My hands they made you,

My breath I gave you,

My son he saves you

If you want to, you can wear My name

My love unending,

My truth unbending

I want you to wear My name

  • God wants to have a personal relationship with each of us; He wants each of us to wear His name. That is personal.
  • Our goal as followers of Christ is to know God personally, to grow daily in this relationship, and then make Him known to others as He reveals Himself to us and through us.

Do you know God like this? You can!

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. (John 14:23, NKJV)

When you come to know God like this, you will discover the greatest experience in this life and beyond!

Knowing Christ is not only a personal experience, but also a powerful experience